UPCOMING EVENT: PHOENIX BASS FISHING LEAGUE - 2020 - Ohio River

It’s a Level Playing Field at Lake Mead

It’s a Level Playing Field at Lake Mead

The Costa FLW Series hasn’t made its way to Lake Mead for a Western Division event since 2007, and while a lot has changed in the 12 years since, it’s as good a fishery as ever, especially for anglers who know how to effectively break down such a big body of water.

The Western Division kicks off its season with the event on Mead, which is presented by Ranger Boats, on Feb. 28. It’s been cold out west, or at least colder than usual for this time of year. As a result, bass in Mead are in a prespawn holding pattern, which should open the door for a multitude of approaches and patterns — provided anglers don’t get too intimidated by the 158,000-plus surface acres of water the fishery holds.

Complete details

 

WHAT TO EXPECT

If you’re going to talk to anyone about what to expect on a Western lake, Joe Uribe Jr. is probably your best bet for the best information. Uribe has been fishing the Costa FLW Series since 2011 and hasn’t finished below 16th place in Western Division Angler of the Year standings in that span. Six of his eight years fishing the circuit resulted in top-five finishes in the standings, including an AOY title in 2015.

Mead is also the lake were Uribe got his start in earnest as a boater.

“I cut my teeth at Lake Mead back in 2003 when I first started fishing on the pro side,” he says. “I would have to attribute a lot of my success to that lake. It’s kind of helped shape me to fish a lot smarter and more conservative.

“You’ve got so many different elements at that lake that really test your skills — boat-handling skills, equipment, your mental game. It’s a great tournament lake. It’s a very even playing field there. Just because you live there doesn’t mean you’re going to be favored to win; a lot of times it works against you.”

Because of Mead’s size, Uribe tends to break the lake down basin by basin, essentially chopping the fishery into a bunch of smaller lakes. Each section fishes a little differently, but the overall approach is going to be fairly uniform across the tournament field, assuming anglers don’t try to do too much.

“It’s going to be a lot of fish management,” Uribe adds. “Marking your areas and locating the fish, figuring out how to make a few of them bite. But then you’ve got the wind as a factor. That’s going to be the biggest curveball there. If you get a north wind, it’s going to really inhibit anglers from getting to where they want to go and fish it how they want to.”

Lake Mead is the epitome of a clear-water lake. It’s been cold lately, and with lower temperatures comes even clearer water — 30 to 40 feet of visibility, according to Uribe. Anglers are going to be able to find fish with their eyes alone fairly easily, but getting them to bite will be a different story. Shallow fish in ultra-clear water generally means easily spooked fish that aren’t necessarily easy to entice to bite.

Uribe figures it's best to temper expectations for weight totals. He expects the winning weight to be around 36 pounds for the three days.

“I would say probably 12 pounds a day to win,” he estimates. “As little as that sounds, 12 pounds is being pretty generous, because someone can catch 15 pounds one day and then come in with one fish the next day. That’s how that lake fishes.

“The quality of fish is going to be pretty good. If you can get a limit and then try to capitalize on that and get a kicker of 3 to 5 pounds, that’s going to be huge.”

 

PATTERNS TO WATCH

Prespawn on Mead is a great time to catch big fish, but even prespawn largemouths might not be enough to get it done in the Western Division opener.

“The smallmouths, I think, are going to be a real big player in this event because they don’t mind the colder temperatures,” Uribe says. “I’ve caught several over 4 or 4 1/2 pounds in that lake. I think we might see a couple of those. Guys who can mix it up with smallmouths and largemouths, I think that’s what you’re going to have to do.”

Drop-shots and tubes are always big players on Western lakes, especially when targeting smallmouths, but the predominant pattern is still probably going to involve targeting shallow largemouths relating to structure in clear water. Mead is a desert lake with all the typical desert lake features — brush, boulders and small ledges, mostly. Targeting those areas might be the meal ticket for the winning angler and co-angler.

“I think the best, most productive bait in this tournament is going to be a jig,” Uribe says. “If you can catch five a day on a jig, I think you’re going to win the tournament. Because it’s prespawn, the fish are going to be feeding on crawdads this time of the year. Most of the shad are going to be deep. It’s got a lot of rocky contours and ledges. A heavier jig fished effectively is going to be good.

“If the wind picks up, reaction baits like a spinnerbait, ChatterBait and crankbait are going to be a key player in this event as well.”

 

A LONG TIME COMING

The Costa FLW Series Western Division last visited Lake Mead in 2007, and just two times before that: 2003 and 2005. Those tournaments were all four-day events, and weight totals were a little below what Uribe expects this time around. In February 2007, Jeff Michels won with 31 pounds, 11 ounces. Thanh Le won it in April 2005 with 41-05, and Sean Minderman took the win in March 2003 with 31-15.

But much has changed for Mead in the years since, including the smallmouth boom that has resulted in a lot of quality bronzebacks being pulled from its waters in recent years. And even prior to those previous Costa FLW Series events, Mead was home to the current Nevada record largemouth of 12 pounds, landed in 1999. There are big fish to be had. It’ll just come down to time, water and fish management to put it all together.

 

Details

The Lake Mead Costa FLW Series tournament runs Feb. 28-March 2, and the City of Henderson Department of Cultural Arts and Tourism will host the event. Takeoff and weigh-in will take place at Callville Bay Forever Resorts, with weigh-ins streamed live on FLWFishing.com at 2:30 p.m. PT each day.

Complete details

Tags: lake-mead  -drop-shot  tube  spinnerbait  chatterbait  smallmouth  largemouth  bass  justin-onslow  pre-tournament  2019-02-28-lake-mead 

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

Big Bags on Tap at Pickwick

After a four-month hiatus, it’s almost time for the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Mississippi Division to get back after it. The season resumes on July 18 and July 19 with back-to-back tournaments on Pickwick Lake. While each tournament may fish a bit like a two-day event, each day of competition is a standalone tournament with a winner crowned after each day. READ MORE »

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

Michigan Division Kicks Off on St. Clair

There’s nothing better than clear water and big smallmouths, and that’s exactly what the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Michigan Division plans to deliver this year. The division, which is presented by ARE, is set to open the season July 18 on Lake St. Clair in what should be a heavyweight showdown of smallmouths. READ MORE »

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

Piedmont Division Heads to Kerr

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Piedmont Division continues its season with back-to-back tournaments on Kerr Lake on July 18 and 19. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

Hoosier Division Heads for Ohio River

After kicking off the season on Lake Monroe with a double-header at the end of June, the Hoosier Division of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine turns east for stop No. 3 on the Ohio River at Tanners Creek. READ MORE »

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

Everything in Play on Mighty Miss

The Mississippi River is the staple venue of the Great Lakes Division in Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine competition. Come July 18, the division will take its first crack at the Mighty Miss in what could shape up to be a diverse event. READ MORE »

Kentucky Lake Could be Won Deep or Shallow

Kentucky Lake Could be Won Deep or Shallow

As we saw a couple weeks ago at the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, the Tennessee River is capable of churning out big bags of bass both deep and shallow. We’ll probably be reminded of the Chickamauga event on July 18, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine LBL Division competes on Kentucky Lake and Lake Barkley. Conditions should be similar, with both deep and shallow patterns in the mix.   READ MORE »

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Northern Division Heads to Sandusky

Swiftly rescheduled due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, the Toyota Series Northern Division is now kicking off on Lake Erie, launching out of Sandusky, Ohio, July 9-11. The event is the first of three in the division, with the others scheduled for August on Lake Champlain and on the Detroit River in September. READ MORE »

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

FLW Shifts Toyota Series Northern Event to Lake Erie

Due to New York’s recently announced travel restrictions, FLW will shift its July 9-11 Toyota Series Northern Division opener from the St. Lawrence River at Massena, N.Y., to Lake Erie at Sandusky, Ohio. READ MORE »

Okie Division Heads to Arkansas River

Okie Division Heads to Arkansas River

The Okie Division looks to end the month of June just how it started it – with back-to-back Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine events. READ MORE »

Wrapping Practice with Jon Canada

Wrapping Practice with Jon Canada

Second-year Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit pro Jon Canada enters the first of three Super Tournaments down the stretch run of the season ranked third in Angler of the Year points. After a 10th-place finish at Sam Rayburn to start the season, he tacked on a 20th at the Harris Chain and 21st at Martin, and he’s looking to keep that consistency rolling on Chickamauga this week. READ MORE »

Checking Shallow and Deep with Hays

Checking Shallow and Deep with Hays

Dylan Hays has been fairly consistent throughout his four years as a pro on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit, and he’s currently on pace to have his best season to date. He made the last two top-30 cuts and finished 31st at Rayburn to start the year, and because of his consistency, the Arkansas pro currently finds himself fifth in the Angler of the Year race. READ MORE »

Roaming Chick with Cole Floyd

Roaming Chick with Cole Floyd

Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit rookie Cole Floyd is a rookie by definition only. Despite living in Ohio until joining the Bethel University fishing team, it hasn’t taken long for the young phenom to make his mark on the Tennessee River, from Kentucky Lake to Guntersville, Pickwick to Chickamauga. Floyd was gracious enough to allow me to ride along with him for the first day of practice on Chickamauga for a firsthand look at how he’s preparing to get the job done. READ MORE »

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

Several Patterns in Play at Ouachita BFL

FLW has a long history of hosting multiple-day summertime tournaments on Lake Ouachita, where pros have to grind it out for three days in what are usually tough conditions. On June 27, when the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Arkie Division takes to Ouachita, the Natural State’s best bass anglers will need to game plan a little differently. With only one day to fish and a three-bass limit, they’ll have to swing for the fences with big-bass patterns to have a shot at winning. READ MORE »

Hoosier Division Kicks off with Doubleheader

Hoosier Division Kicks off with Doubleheader

The Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine Hoosier Division starts its season with back-to-back tournaments on Indiana’s Lake Monroe June 27 and 28, and it’s looking like big bags will be on tap. READ MORE »

Shenandoah Div. Restarts on the Potomac

Shenandoah Div. Restarts on the Potomac

Competition in the Shenandoah Division presented by A.R.E. Truck Caps of the Phoenix Bass Fishing League presented by T-H Marine will restart at the Potomac River on June 27. With the river’s bass fully into the postspawn now, the event should be a classic summertime Potomac derby. READ MORE »

HS Championship Will be a Frog-Fest

HS Championship Will be a Frog-Fest

If you wanted to design the perfect frog-fishing tournament, you might host it at Guntersville or the Cal Delta, but you could also copy the agenda for the Student Angler Federation High School Fishing National Championship on the Mississippi River out of La Crosse, Wis. READ MORE »

Inside Bass Fishing Magazine’s June-July Issue

Inside Bass Fishing Magazine’s June-July Issue

With fishing tournaments back in full swing and the summer bite starting to heat up, now’s a good time to pick up a copy of Bass Fishing magazine for tips, tricks, gear reviews and all the bass fishing content our readers have come to expect from within its pages. READ MORE »

Previewing Chick: Can Other Lakes Play?

Previewing Chick: Can Other Lakes Play?

When the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit picks back up next week with the Super Tournament on Lake Chickamauga, the famous lake isn’t the only reservoir available to pros in the event. If they want, pros will be able to run and lock up into Watts Bar Lake or down into Nickajack Lake. READ MORE »

48-Pound Limit Weighed at FLW Zimbabwe Event

48-Pound Limit Weighed at FLW Zimbabwe Event

From the moment registration opened for the second year of FLW Zimbabwe competition, it was obvious that FLW was here to stay. With Zimbabweans Roger Cousens and Denis Todd winning the International Division titles at the Toyota Series Championship on Lake Cumberland in November 2019, and Roger having been awarded a pro berth to compete on the Tackle Warehouse Pro Circuit in the USA in 2021, every aspiring angler was out to be the next in line. READ MORE »

Review: Berkley PowerBait The Deal

Review: Berkley PowerBait The Deal

Designed by Major League Fishing pro Skeet Reese, the Berkley PowerBait The Deal is a unique twin-tailed trailer that’s right at home on the back of a vibrating jig or a swim jig. The Deal comes in 3 1/2- and 4 1/2-inch versions (I tested the 4 1/2), all the standard colors and has already seen tournament success. READ MORE »